Baker, Newton D.


1927 TLS to notable collector Rev. Cornelius Greenway, unable to accept his invitation



Autograph ID: 4906
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1871-1937) Ohio lawyer, 37th Mayor of Cleveland 1912-15, Wilson’s WW I Secretary of War 1916-21. Attended Johns Hopkins University in the 1890’s where he first met Woodrow Wilson, and after receiving his law degree from Washington and Lee University in 1894, became private secretary to Postmaster General Wm. L. Wilson. He moved to Cleveland, was city solicitor 1901-09, elected Mayor 1911. His main interests were public power, transit reform city beautification, and strong backing for Cleveland College, now part of Case Western Reserve University. Worked on Wilson’s behalf at the 1912 Democratic Convention, twice declined to be Secretary of the Interior in President Wilson’s 1st term. In 1916, following his term as Mayor, Baker and 2 others founded the law firm of Baker & Hostetler (today, one of the nation’s 100 largest firms). As the US considered whether to enter WW I, Wilson named him Secretary of War at 44, the youngest member of the Cabinet. As Secretary, Baker presided over US military participation in the War 1917-18, including creation of a national military draft. Baker selected Gen. Pershing to head the Allied Expeditionary Force. At Baker’s insistence, Wilson made US forces an independent fighting partner of the Allies against the Central Powers. After stepping down as Secretary in 1921, he returned to practicing law at Baker & Hostetler. For several years he was the leading proponent of US participation in the League of Nations. At the 1924 Democratic Convention’s platform discussions, he was the principal advocate of language committing the Party to US membership in the League of Nations. After losing in the platform committee, he raised the issue on the convention floor. With no chance of winning his speech was the highlight of the convention. In 1928, President Coolidge appointed to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, re-appointed 1935 to another 6-year term by FDR. He argued before the Supreme Court as counsel for the property owner in Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., a landmark case that established the constitutionality of zoning laws.

TLS on 11 x 8 ½ Baker, Hostetler & Sidlo law firm letterhead, Cleveland, October 19 1927, to Rev. Cornelius Greenway, Taunton, Mass. Baker regrets he cannot accept his invitation as he promised to be in St. Louis for Armistice Day and on Nov. 10, he will be en route there to fill “the memorial engagement.”

Cornelius Greenway (1896-1968) Emigrated from Holland 1914, in WW I served with US Army in France, received Purple Heart and Service Medal. Tufts Univ. BA 1925, STB 1928. Started collecting autographs, inc. photographs, in late 20s. Ordained Universalist minister 1926, served parishes in Taunton & Boston, Mass. Pastor of All Souls Church in Brooklyn 1929-65, affiliated with National Association of Congregational Christian Churches 1961.”
Type: Letter

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